Chapter 36Psychological and Relational Resources in the Experience of Disability and Caregiving


Authors' Note. We are grateful to IRCCS Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi, Fondazione Telecom Italia, and the Italian Ministries of Health and of Education for the financial support to this work.

Pharmacological and technological advancements in the medical field and growing resource investment in social services have substantially increased life expectancy in most countries. However, one of the consequences of these changes is the so-called epidemiological paradox: The number of years that people spend living with chronic diseases and mental disorders dramatically increased as well (Keyes, 2007).

The implications for researchers and practitioners in the health domain are manifold. In particular, there is growing empirical evidence of the fact that physical health and daily life functioning are different concepts, and that subjective outlooks, beliefs, and evaluations substantially influence individual health and quality of life. The necessity of guaranteeing an adequate quality of life to people with permanent disabilities and chronic diseases and their families has become a priority for governments and institutions. At the same time, intervention programs have to take into account the subjective dimensions of well-being and health.

This chapter aims at illustrating some of the main theoretical and empirical contributions to ...

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